Commuters using the Roselle Metra Station on Irving Park Road don't need to shell out $2.50 for a magazine or $5 for a paperback book to stay entertained during their train ride.
Instead, they can use their smartphones or tablets to access thousands of free books. Friends of the Roselle Public Library maintain a paperback exchange kiosk at the train station, which now includes a huge library of virtual books that can be accessed using a quick response, or QR, code.
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The QR code is located on the kiosk, and can be scanned or photographed by anyone who has a scanner app -- such as QR Scanner or NeoReader -- installed on their smartphone, tablet or e-reader.
More than 15,000 public domain titles are available to download; no library card is required to access the free books, and the book titles never expire.
Library Director Amy Cawley said this is just one of the library's efforts to evolve with technology and offer programs that engage residents beyond traditional books.
"We are trying to reach beyond our building," Cawley said. "We want to involve the community at all age levels."
In addition to the free books available to everyone, Roselle Public Library provides even more for residents with a library card and personal identification number.
Members can access downloadable eBooks and audiobooks through eMediaLibrary, a collection of best-sellers and popular fiction and nonfiction developed by a consortium of West suburban libraries.
The QR code is the latest step in the Roselle library's mission to remind residents that libraries remain a valuable information hub. Earlier this year, the library ventured into local stores -- partnering with merchants to offer discounts for Roselle card holders.
Cawley said staff is also currently working to develop an app for its catalog, and creating programming that reaches out to Generation X and Y, reaching beyond the popular children and senior programs.
"We are trying to get the community to recognize we're here, and what better value than downloading through the library website, using the library for information, to plan a trip for example," she said. "Or why not use our consumer reports database instead of going website to website for research? Libraries are information places and I think people are forgetting about that."
For information about becoming a Library member see the Library's website roselle.lib.il.us, or call the circulation department at (630) 529-1641.